Cold Weather Breathing

Recently, temperatures have dropped as the cold weather season has arrived in the northern hemisphere. There are many ways to stay warm this winter. When the mind is determined to deal with the weather change- the body will cooperate. Breathing will follow to achieve this goal. The breathing pattern is just one of many tools, but a good tool to start with. Below is a brief write up about how to stay warm with simple breathing and you can look at a piece of animation to get the idea. The text below the following URL is a descriptor of what is happening in the animation:

The animation is located here:
http://vimeo.com/17226046

Reverse breathing / Daoist breathing

INHALE:
-abdominal/core engaged, and pulled “inward”
-back is relaxed, and expanded “out”
-perineum is gently raised (pulled up)

EXHALE:
-abs/core are “expanded” (like traditional belly breathing)
-back is relaxed / deflated
-perineum is gently lowered (pushed out)

So on the inhale, the air is compressing towards the center-line, while the back expands and fills with air. On the exhale, the base of the torso (near the navel/dan tien and below) expands like a bellows. Mentally, inhale should ‘contract’ and exhale should ‘expand.’ On the exhale, when you are expanding the base of the trunk: that is when you are sending blood-flow/chi throughout the body. Send this energy to the extremities and the surface of the skin. This creates a sort of ‘force field’ against outside influences- including cold. This is a similar breathing technique that T.C. teaches in various classes and workshops.

In general keep the inhale/exhale durations the same. When you are cold, make the exhales longer to warm up faster. Conversely, in the summer (and times of warmth), if you need to cool down more, inhale longer, and make the exhales shorter. So, roughly, in this respect: inhale = cooling, exhale = warming. Use the mind to compress (cool) the inhales, and expand (warm) the exhales. I have found success if I start ‘warming’ earlier than I need it (i.e. start the concentrated breathing BEFORE I go out into the cold.) All breathing should be slow, calm, and accurate.

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I have also found this:
http://perfectbreathing.com/stay-warm-winter-qi-gongs-tumo

While it is a different technique than what I have presented above. It is included here as more evidence that [warmth-through-breath] is a finite possibility. As stated, there are many tools, and many possibilities…

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None of this is meant to serve as any sort of medical advice. I am simply presenting concepts. Winter is only three weeks away, so start practicing. The key is exploration. Experiment! Find what works for you.

Have an enjoyable winter and holiday season!

Brian Weaver